Automatic face recognition has been an active research area for the last four decades. This thesis explores innovative bio-inspired concepts aimed at improved face recognition using surface normals. New directions in salient data representation are explored using data captured via a photometric stereo method from the University of the West of England’s “Photoface” device. Accuracy assessments demonstrate the advantage of the capture format and the synergy offered by near infrared light sources in achieving more accurate results than under conventional visible light. Two 3D face databases have been created as part of the thesis – the publicly available Photoface database which contains 3187 images of 453 subjects and the 3DE-VISIR dataset which contains 363 images of 115 people with different expressions captured simultaneously under near infrared and visible light. The Photoface database is believed to be the ?rst to capture naturalistic 3D face models. Subsets of these databases are then used to show the results of experiments inspired by the human visual system. Experimental results show that optimal recognition rates are achieved using surprisingly low resolution of only 10x10 pixels on surface normal data, which corresponds to the spatial frequency range of optimal human performance. Motivated by the observed increase in recognition speed and accuracy that occurs in humans when faces are caricatured, novel interpretations of caricaturing using outlying data and pixel locations with high variance show that performance remains disproportionately high when up to 90% of the data has been discarded. These direct methods of dimensionality reduction have useful implications for the storage and processing requirements for commercial face recognition systems. The novel variance approach is extended to recognise positive expressions with 90% accuracy which has useful implications for human-computer interaction as well as ensuring that a subject has the correct expression prior to recognition. Furthermore, the subject recognition rate is improved by removing those pixels which encode expression. Finally, preliminary work into feature detection on surface normals by extending Haar-like features is presented which is also shown to be useful for correcting the pose of the head as part of a fully operational device. The system operates with an accuracy of 98.65% at a false acceptance rate of only 0.01 on front facing heads with neutral expressions. The work has shown how new avenues of enquiry inspired by our observation of the human visual system can offer useful advantages towards achieving more robust autonomous computer-based facial recognition.
Hansen, M. F. 3D face recognition using photometric stereo. (Thesis). University of the West of England